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Sun Nov 15, 2015, 02:20 AM

White sauce help needed....

We went to Denny's for dinner a few weeks ago, my country fried steak had a sauce that was super. So, tonight we were at Denny's and I again ordered the country fried steak. I asked "What is the sauce on this steak?" The cook said "it is a simple white sauce." The taste was so completely different I could not believe it. So, my question is ..... What herbs &/or spices do you use in a white sauce? There was no cheese in the sauce and it may have had a slight tinge of green or just wee bits of a green herb? I would really like to recreate this sauce. I've looked all over the cooking sites and none come even close. Some even adding nutmeg...... Yuck!

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Response to Grey (Original post)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 02:33 AM

1. The point of white sauce is to be a background for whatever else you do to it.

The only way to imitate something proprietary is to do the basic white sauce prep and try adding spices to it.

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Response to Grey (Original post)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 02:38 AM

2. White sauces are that French basic everybody needs to master

Basically, it's even amounts of flour and butter, cooked together for a couple of minutes until the raw taste is out of the flour. Then add liquid of choice: stock, water, milk, tomato in small amounts and whisk until the sauce is at the boil and as thick as you like it. The country fried steak probably has a pepper sauce, thickened with milk and with lots of fresh black pepper ground in. If they added any herb, it was most likely finely chopped parsley and not much of it, at all. Chances are the kitchen guy didn't know what was in it, it arrives frozen or in jars from corporate HQ.

A good white sauce will make the most bland and boring fare seem special. Shoving the sauced meat or veg under the broiler until the sauce is flecked with brown and very bubbly is also a great thing to do. Add grated cheese to a very plain white sauce and you've got the sauce for the best mac & cheese you've ever had.

While you can make a white sauce with margarine, oil, or other fat, I don't recommend it. Butter makes it so much better and the per serving amount is negligible.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 02:49 AM

3. That is what the waitress said,

That the sauce came from the supplier, but the two sauces were so different in flavour that I thought some one must have added something. I always use butter in my white sauce, but this was something special. Any ideas about what you would add? Minced onion, garlic, bay leaf?

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Response to Grey (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 02:53 AM

5. Who knows what they added to a 50 gallon vat of the stuff

I've done a very good one with minced onion added to the butter and flour, thyme sprinkled in, the sauce thickened and then strained to get the solids out. White sauces are something you can play with for a nearly infinite variety of sauces.

These days I have to make mine with white rice flour instead of wheat but I have to say it's just as good, if a tiny bit on the gritty side. The first time I made a French sauce with rice flour I knew I'd survive being allergic to wheat just fine.

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Response to Grey (Original post)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 02:52 AM

4. Country fried steak is usually served with "cream" gravy.

I looked online and Denny's does advertise a country fried steak dinner with country gravy. I was just making sure it wasn't another kind of sauce.

Cream gravy aka country gravy is a basic white sauce but instead of whole milk some people use canned milk (Carnation evaporated) and some people use half & half. You can use whole, skim, etc. milk of course.

Melt butter, add flour, blend. Some allow the roux to cook for a minute or two. I do. Never allow it to burn though & it is easy to burn. Add pepper. Dash salt. Add milk product, whisk together, smoothing out any lumps. Some remove from heat prior to mixing the milk in, some allow it to cook a minute or two longer with milk added.

I know people who add a pinch of poultry seasoning.

Play around with the recipe.

Hope this helps.



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Response to Solly Mack (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 08:15 AM

8. I've heard 'equal amounts of butter and flour' for quite some time, but when I try

adding 'equal amounts' I wind up with a lumpy moist ball of flour, not any sort of liquidy looking thing that can easily be cooked evenly. Is 'equal' being used in some way other than what I'm trying? Is it a measure by weight, by volume, by what?

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 10:11 AM

10. I think the "liquidy" comes when you add the liquid...

 

When cooking the roux, it's going to be as you described, basically a lump of paste.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 11:37 AM

11. I seldom follow the equal amounts rule when making "cream" gravy.

I grew up making it and it has become something I don't think about the 'how' when preparing.

I use (roughly) 3 tablespoons fat to 1/4 cup flour. Have to stir/whisk constantly as it heats. Once it starts to bubble, about 2 minutes - add liquid. Never allow the roux to cook too long. The roux (fat/flour) is paste-like - then you add your milk and whisk. I prefer my roux to be somewhat paste-like, then add liquid.

Also, heating the milk before adding helps reduce lumps. Careful not to scold, just heat until hot to touch but not enough to burn your finger. I don't always heat my milk.

Volume. Dry measures. Pack and level.

I do follow the equal amounts rule for most other recipes.

















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Response to Grey (Original post)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 02:57 AM

6. Nutmeg is a very common addition to a white sauce.

It has to be used very sparingly, though.

The sauce you liked could have contained some parsley, or thyme, probably from dried, not fresh herbs. But, I really have a hard time believing that Denny's uses any herbs, fresh or dried, in a country fried steak sauce. Denny's tends to serve food that is fairly simple, and likely to be palatable to most customers. Their menu is just not that adventurous. For that reason, I would rule out the stronger tasting herbs, like oregano or rosemary.

I think a small amount of dried parsley, or thyme would be delicious in a white sauce; but, for me, lots of black pepper is the way to go.

You might want to do a search for bechamel sauce.

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Response to Cracklin Charlie (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 03:31 AM

7. I did a search for bechamel sauce,

and found it to be very like a simple white sauce, I know it wasn't nutmeg in this sauce, Thyme may be one to try, I will also try parsley. Thanks. I know I had a hard time believing the sauce could be that different from one week/cook to another. I also know that my husband and sister can't tell the difference, and insist there was no difference in taste, but I also know they can't/won't know when something like milk has gone off. Funny how as you get older your taste buds change, I think they have lost theirs..... That, to me, is so sad.

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Response to Cracklin Charlie (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 01:11 PM

12. Having had all night to think

about it, I think I'm going to try chive. That may be the closest I can think of for the flavour. Thank you everyone for all the help. I have always made my white sauce with butter and lots of black pepper but next time I am going to try just a pinch of some herb.

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Response to Grey (Reply #12)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 08:14 PM

16. I think chive would be delicious.

But, I must say, I have GOT to stop reading the cooking and baking group at midnight. I went to bed and had food dreams. I woke up so hungry.

Good luck with your sauce.

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Response to Cracklin Charlie (Reply #6)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 07:09 PM

14. One thing I learned in cooking school

Was to also add some cayenne pepper to a Bechamel sauce, not much, just a pinch. Or just a few drops of Tabasco. You can't tell what the flavor is, but you know when it's not there. It adds a tiny "bright" note to the sauce.

The salt in the Tabasco also helps, too.

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Response to Nac Mac Feegle (Reply #14)

Mon Nov 16, 2015, 01:30 AM

19. Tabasco - Yes!

When I make a white sauce or a cream gravy, I always add a few shakes of Tabasco. Same for soups where milk is used like bean or lentil soups or corn or potato chowder, they need that shake of Tabasco. I use it as a seasoning for bland foods all the time.
When I made a cream gravy for my chicken fried steak, I also add a little sage and of course plenty of black pepper. I use the drippings from frying the meat.

In a restaurant, they deep fry the meat so they don't have any good pan drippings, that is why they are using a white sauce mix. You an buy a package of white sauce where you just add water, but please don't Learn to make your own, it is easy and that way you know exactly what you are eating, no hidden chemicals. Use a whisk to stir when make the sauce or gravy, keeps it from lumping up.

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Response to Grey (Original post)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 10:03 AM

9. Allrecipes has several country gravy recipes.

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Response to PADemD (Reply #9)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 01:13 PM

13. I have been through Allrecipes several times,

I now have several new recipes to try. Thanks.

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Response to Grey (Original post)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 07:19 PM

15. real country gravy

would have been made with the grease (bacon!) and the drippings left in the pan from frying the steak (or chicken) but I doubt Denny's or anyplace else like that would ever go to that much effort. their gravy comes in 5 gallon buckets. possibly, they ran out and your cook had to make some from scratch and that is why it was good.

OR it may have been "sausage gravy" (also from a 5 gallon pail, I suspect) normally used on biscuits for that cheap breakfast combo. in which case it might have had a smidge of sage flavor, maybe a bit of red pepper. again if the scenario was that they ran out of the regular, the cook may have thrown in some dried parsley to help disguise the "sausage"


or maybe somebody just knocked some spice off the rack by accident into the pan

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Response to Kali (Reply #15)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 09:24 PM

17. Well, it wasn't real country gravy I made tonight

but a white sauce variation. I used 1 tsp. chive, lots of black pepper and a small dash of cayenne. Spooned it over a couple chicken fried pork steaks. yummm.
Thanks everybody for the help and encouragement. Not exactly what I remember but it's been 3 weeks so I'm guessing its close enough.

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Response to Grey (Original post)

Sun Nov 15, 2015, 11:43 PM

18. Here's a recipe for Copycat Denny's Chicken Fried Steak & Country Gravy

http://www.food.com/recipe/copycat-dennys-chicken-fried-steak-country-gravy-188170

For the gravy, they make a white sauce with butter, flour and milk then add beef bouillon granules, a bit of salt and pepper to flavor it.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #18)

Mon Nov 16, 2015, 01:13 PM

20. Cool, Thanks

I'll have to give that a try. I never thought about the bouillon granules. When I made white sauce last night, I used butter flour and milk, I then added chive and a touch of cayenne pepper. It was good but I think I should have several variations for whatever I'm cooking.

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